IN THE NEWS
Articles of Interest
Ron Drach, President, Drach Consulting, LLC
VETERANS TALENT INDEX
A Survey of Disabled Veterans Employment
From the Disabled American VeteransThe Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released the results of a survey in November 2016. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Monster and Military.com (a subsidiary of Monster) and is tilted VETERANS TALENT INDEX Insights and Analysis from Veterans, Recrutiers, and Hiring Managers. The entire report can be found at www.monster.com/about/veterans-talent-index.
A few highlights of this report that may be of interest to our readers include:
- Most veterans are willing to relocate for a job, but the cost of living is the leading factor in that decision.
- More employers than ever have established a specific veteran recruitment, hiring and retention program in their companies. (Author’s note – see DCBLN February 2017 newsletter for more about retention).
- Veterans say finding the job they want is no longer the biggest barrier to employment.
- Employers want more detail on veterans resumes and feel veterans need to improve their in-person interview skills. (Author’s note – the resume issue has been a topic of discussion for many years. There has not been as much said or written about their interview skills. I believe it is important for those of you who participate in career fairs to do informational or mock interviews with veteran job seekers and offer a critique.
CAREER CONFIDENCE INDEX
During the past five years this index in the survey has shown a solid score of 52 to 58 (out of a total of 100). The 2016 survey showed a confidence level of 57 and in 2015 was 58. This survey consists of post 9/11 veterans and shows that just a little more than half of these veterans are confident of obtaining a job. See page 6 of the report for a discussion of Regional differences.
The number of veterans who think they should receive preferential job opportunities due to their veteran status is decreasing, indicating a stronger sense of self, or more positive outlook, about the possibility of finding a job.
About two in three (67%) male veterans were “very” or “extremely” confident in succeeding in a job compared to 61% of female veterans feeling the same way.
VETERAN JOB SEARCH ACTIVITY INDEX
This index measures the veteran’s job search activity (0-100) and the current survey shows this to be at 78. Female veteran job search activity is up from 72 in 2015 to 83 in 2016. Male veterans in 2016 was 77. There is no reason given for this increase but some possible reasons could include graduation from college, economic condition has changed, and an increase of female veterans leaving the military.
In 2015 veterans looking for a job said “Finding a job that matches what I want” was 46% but decreased to 33% in 2016. Again, no reason is provided for this trend. Could it be possible that some veterans have lowered their expectations because they are unable to find such a job or because they have not been successful in finding “what they want”. Veterans like non veterans may take a job out of economic necessity and thus forego their “dream” job. This could contribute to the underemployment phenomenon we hear about.
Veterans (53%) are seeking employers who are “veteran friendly”. This includes wanting to know if other veterans are working for the company (53%) and if the company has a veteran mentoring group (45%), and whether or not there is a “veteran affinity/support groups” (45%).
The survey reported that “43 percent of employers…indicated they had a veteran specific mentoring program in place…” The survey two years ago reported only 17% of employers had such a program.
In February 2017 there was an article about veterans employment retention. This survey revealed that in 2014 68% of employers did not have a specific retention program in place. That has declined to 31% in the 2016 report.
EMPLOYER HIRING INDEX
This index also on a scale of 0-100 measures “1) employers level of hiring veterans; 2) employer views on veterans’ job performance compared to non veterans; and 3) employer motivation to hire veterans.”
Sixty eight percent of the employers are positive about hiring veterans and remain motivated to hiring veterans. This is down slightly from the past five year average of 71%.
Military experiences relevancy to civilian careers was reported by 87% of the employers. (Author’s note: this raises a question in my mind about employer comments over the years that employers are sometimes confused about the military skill sets being transferrable to the civilian careers. I don’t know what the question was asked but this 87% could be respondents who have some experience with veterans already employed and not new applicants)
Surprising to me is 76% of employers believe that “companies should provide preferential job opportunities to those with prior military experience.” Only 59% believed that in 2011.
The survey reveals that employers are looking for veterans to perform many roles and not just the position for which they have been hired.
It has often been said that veterans make good employees. More than half (54%) of employers said veterans “perform their job ‘much better’ compared to non-veterans in their organization.” What is your company’s experience?
Employers were asked “what would help veterans convey their experience more effectively”
- 56% reported more details are needed on their resumes
- 48% military skills translation to civilian skills needed more clarification
- 44% reported the veteran needed to improve communication skills during an interview
What is your company’s experience?
Most of us who have been advocating veterans’ employment have talked about “soft skills” attained in military service. According to the survey employers are now recognizing this and place a “great deal of importance on soft skills.”
Employers identified four top soft skills as:
- 49% - communication skills
- 43% - attention to detail
- 43% - self discipline
- 41% - confidence
53 percent of veterans said it was very important for companies to market themselves as a veteran friendly place to work. I reviewed the entire report but could not find anything specific about veterans with disabilities. However, I learned about this report from an article in a recent DAV Magazine titled Survey reveals experiences for disabled veterans, their employers and I have asked DAV’s National Employment Director for further reference. In the meantime the following highlights are direct quotes from the article and a DAV November 8, 2016 news release.
Magazine Article References
§ 45 percent of employers surveyed feel their work environment is not appropriate for veterans with disabilities and 30 percent have concerns about veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. We [DAV] hear similar concerns about traumatic brain injuries. (Author’s note – From August 2007 until late 2010 the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) had a robust education and outreach program for veterans living and working with TBI/PTSD. I am not sure why they discontinued it. It was known as America’s Heroes at Work and was a valuable resource for employers, veterans with PTSD/TBI and researchers. I did numerous presentations on this and I know some of our readers are aware of this effort)
§ 84 percent feel employers are accommodating of their disabilities, but only 38 percent of veterans have disclosed their disabilities on a job application. (Author’s note – I view the 84% as a positive that can be used to assure veterans with disabilities can comfortably request accommodations)
§ The 2016 VTI, released Nov 7 , included nearly a dozen questions specifically pertaining to veterans with disabilities. (Author’s note – as I mentioned there is nothing in the report on those questions)
DAV NEWS RELEASE
November 8, 2016
Disabled Veterans’ Perspective on Job Hunting:
- Sixty-five percent of respondents believe their service-connected disability has required them to change career paths.
- When it comes to their disability, 78 percent of the service members and veterans surveyed do not feel it impacts their value as an employee. Sixty-six percent agree their disability impacts their physical ability only.
- Of the respondents who indicated they have a disability, 66 percent say it is visibly apparent.
Employers Perspective on Hiring Disabled Veterans:
- Of employers who have hired disabled veterans, 81 percent believe their company is a positive and productive workplace. Seventy-four percent believe it has been a positive experience for the company.
- Seventy-three percent of employers surveyed say their company has confidential resources available to veterans if they need to seek help.
- Seventy-five percent of employers have confidential resources for managers to help their veteran employees.
Drach Consulting, LLC is a service disabled veteran owned firm that was established after a successful career that includes 28 years with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and more than 8 years with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Ron Drach, President of Drach Consulting, LLC has nearly 50 years experience working on veteran’s issues including employment, affirmative action, vocational rehabilitation, homelessness, transitioning service members, and disability issues.
The Future of Work: Working with Autism and ADHD
Lisa Rabasca Roepe
As more people with autism and ADHD begin to advocate for themselves at work, some employers are changing their workplaces.
When Sam Briefer, 23, was hired by Ernst & Young last year, he had two concerns: that he wouldn’t make friends with his coworkers, and that his office environment would distract him from his work.
These sound like the concerns of any new hire, but for Briefer, they went beyond typical new-hire jitters because he has autism. He was hired after graduating from college as part of the company’s pilot program to recruit employees who have been diagnosed with autism. The company plans to expand this program, says Lori Golden, diverse abilities strategy leader at Ernst & Young.
Briefer says all of his concerns were unfounded, in part because of the support Ernst & Young provides. He says he is friendly with his coworkers and has socialized with them a few times after work. He’s allowed to listen to music using headphones because it helps him to concentrate on his tasks and, when an assignment to schedule multiple Skype meetings for his team became a bit overwhelming for him, Briefer’s manager and job coach helped him to find the solution of delegating and asking coworkers for help.
The key to working with employees with autism, says Briefer, is for managers to listen to their needs. "Let the employee explain their learning style, how they like to work in certain environments, and how they would best cope," says Briefer.
Self-Advocacy is More Common
The practice of listening to the employee’s preferences has worked well for human resources manager Kelly Burns, who recalls the time an intern told her and a manager that he had Asperger syndrome. "He told us he was working with a coach to help him prepare for life in the workplace," says Burns, who is now an HR manager at Summit Consulting LLC. "He came to us with suggestions about working and interacting with others, and that really took the pressure off his manager." Burns says he even let them know that he might not always laugh at their jokes, and that we shouldn’t take that to mean he wasn’t an engaged or happy employee.
There is an increasing awareness in the workplace for certain conditions that are being diagnosed and how these conditions can be considered a disability, says attorney Susan Warner. "We are seeing more requests for accommodations in general," says Vanessa Matsis-McCready, assistant general counsel and human resources manager for Engage PEO, a company that offers HR solutions for small- to mid-sized companies.
Sensitivity Training Helps Colleagues
While employers are accustomed to providing ergonomic workstations for employees with repetitive motion disorders or flexible hours for an employee returning to work after surgery, Matsis-McCready says, employers are just beginning to get comfortable accommodating employees for other disabilities. "The best thing for an employer to do when they need to make an accommodation is to start an open dialogue with the employee about what they need," Warner says.
For employees diagnosed with ADHD or autism, the widespread adoption of open floor plans in the workplace has made it more difficult for them to focus on their work, Matsis-McCready says. Employees with ADHD or autism might need to work in a quiet area with fewer distractions, she says, but their colleagues shouldn’t assume they don’t want to be part of a team or work collaboratively. There are other ways to accommodate an employee with ADHD, Matsis-McCready says, including providing noise-canceling headphones or allowing them to work a flexible schedule that is outside normal business hours, where they come into work a few hours earlier or later than other employees so they have quiet time to complete their work without distractions.
Burns says accommodations for an employee diagnosed with autism include:
- Being specific, clear, and concise with directions.
- Anticipating a lack of emotional response and not interpreting it to mean that person isn’t engaged in their work or with the team.
- Limiting your team’s use of sarcasm and hyperbole.
- Looking for opportunities for team building outside the office besides happy hour and team sports.
Companies Benefit from Another Perspective
In addition to Ernst & Young, other large companies are developing programs to recruit and retain employees with autism. For instance, SAP has a goal of hiring 650 employees with autism by 2020. So far, the company has hired 116 individuals with autism who range in age from 22 to 59, are located in 17 locations in nine different countries, and spread across 100 teams, says Jose Velasco, head of SAP’s Autism at Work program in the U.S. To help them succeed, SAP provides six weeks of pre-employment training, and once they are hired, they are supported by their manager, who has been given autism awareness training; an office mentor, who has volunteered to help and is from another work team; and a job and life skills coach, Velasco says. SAP and Ernst & Young are informally working with Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to share best practices for hiring and retaining more employees with autism.
SAP and Ernst & Young have found that hiring employees with autism bring benefits. They provide a different perspective to problem solving and the creative process, Velasco says. Working with an employee diagnosed with autism can help you become a more effective communicator and manager, says Jamell Mitchell, an associate director at Ernst & Young who manages Briefer and several other employees with autism. "I have found myself pausing and saying, ‘I’m not as clear as I can be,'" he says, "and then taking the time to recraft a communication so it’s clear and I am hitting the key points."
About the Author: Lisa Rabasca Roepe writes about women in the workplace, parenting, and food and drink. Her articles have appeared in Daily Worth, Men's Journal, Eater, SheKnows, and Yahoo Parenting.
Making The Case for Disability Recruitment
Tracey Klein, Executive Vice President, GettingHired
It's no secret that there is a growing need and trend for all organizations to focus on increasing inclusivity within their recruitment strategies.
The impact of 2014 revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act means organizations with federal contracts must have at least seven percent of their workforce made up of individuals with disabilities. Meanwhile, the shortage of sufficient talent across many sectors means businesses should be looking to supplement their recruitment strategies with this highly skilled, often overlooked community of job seekers.
Indeed, with 20 percent of Americans having some sort of disability, this is a diverse group that offers significant untapped potential for employers. It is therefore a community that companies should be actively targeting within their talent acquisition efforts.
How can recruitment of people with disabilities help your business?
One of the most important aspects of any effective recruitment strategy is ensuring return on investment, and with hiring individuals with disabilities this can be easily achieved.
Workers with disabilities tend to show greater loyalty to their employer than other groups, meaning there is a greater likelihood of retention of these employees. This provides significant gains in terms of lower costs for replacing those leaving the business and a more long-term benefit of training and upskilling within this group.
Furthermore, the American Community Survey highlights that 14% of individuals with disabilities hold either a Bachelor’s or Advanced Degree, meaning that there are potentially millions of job seekers with the necessary skills and qualifications to excel within your business. And for disability recruitment solutions like GettingHired, the skill levels can be even higher - GettingHired’s Voice of the Jobseeker Survey in 2015 found that 54 percent of its job seeker community held a Bachelor's or Advanced degree.
Developing a more diverse workforce also helps improve recruitment outcomes in the long-term. If individuals with disabilities can see from the outset that an employer is inclusive to their community, they are likely to be more inclined to apply for jobs - a self-supporting process that improves with time and investment.
Offering more than just access to talent
Organizations that partner with GettingHired can be assured they will receive only the highest standard of service when seeking to find the best candidates to expand their workforce. By partnering with us, you will receive a full service model - not simply access to talent, but also support in training and development of your recruiters and promotion of your employer brand across the disabilities community.
Detailed metrics enable GettingHired to provide insight for our clients for hiring people with disabilities within their industry and beyond. Our years of experience in specializing in this field mean we are able to get your jobs more easily in front of a receptive and responsive community of individuals with disabilities.
For those interested in learning more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and why your business should increase its talent acquisition efforts in this area, contact our expert team here.
Recruiting Employees with Disabilities
By: Carol Glazer and Howard Green
SOURCE: Sodexo, Inc.
For the 57 million Americans living with disabilities, the largest barrier to Quality of Life is finding employment. There are 30 million Americans with disabilities of working age but only 20 percent of them participate in the workforce.
The barriers to employment usually stem from stigma about what individuals with disabilities can achieve and contribute to the workforce. A survey that we worked on with PwC found that many people try to hide their disability out of fear that stigma will keep them from getting a job or limit their job options.
That’s a huge waste of talent at a time when the American workforce needs it most. With Baby Boomers retiring and new jobs being created, there will be an estimated 47 million new job openings in this decade, according The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.
Additionally, hiring people with disabilities can have unique benefits for employers. A 2012 study by Walgreens found that workers with disabilities had 48 percent lower turnover rates than the nondisabled employee population, 67 percent lower medical costs, and equal rates of accuracy and productivity.
Here are a few ways to ensure your organization is taking advantage of this talent pool:
Foster a disability-inclusive culture Employees with disabilities are looking for a work environment where they feel safe discussing a disability with coworkers and leaders. A firm’s leaders can play an important role in starting and sustaining the conversation internally around disability, creating expectations and driving accountability for disability inclusion initiatives. Include content and images addressing employees with disabilities on your company’s materials, social media and employee intranet, and review your disability policies and processes to ensure that these workers do not go unsupported.
The National Organization on Disability offers a suite of Disability Employment Professional Services that provide strategic guidance and practical steps customized to enhance each company’s organizational culture and improve hiring and retention rates for employees with disabilities.
Commit to a disability employment initiative Create a program with the specific goal of hiring people with disabilities. Create hiring goals and a strategy to achieve them. Look for new places to find candidates, including disability-specific job sites or campus disability services offices. Depict people with apparent disabilities in your external recruitment materials and on your website. And educate recruiters and hiring managers on alternate interviewing techniques, as some wonderful candidates may have difficulty with traditional interviewing formats.
In addition, train your recruiters and managers on disability etiquette and awareness to help ensure that they understand the needs of candidates and new hires with disabilities—and current employees with disabilities, too. The most successful disability employment initiatives are multi-faceted and include both external outreach efforts and internal culture-change efforts.
Build a comfortable working environment Set aside a central accommodations budget, so that employees with disabilities can access job tools and aides, without affecting departmental budgets. A study from the Job Accommodation Network found that 59 percent of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500. The study found that providing accommodations led to retention of valuable employees, improved productivity and morale, reduction in workers’ compensation and training costs, and improved company diversity.
Autism Speaks Job Portal
Autism Speaks, the leading autism organization, launched TheSpectrumCareers.com to connect employers with qualified individuals with autism and other disabilities.
The way it works is simple:
- Leading businesses quickly post open job requirements and recruit qualified job seekers with autism and other disabilities.
- Job seekers will upload video resumes to demonstrate their skills and interests to prospective employers.
- Employment service providers and job coaches can provide autism-specific resources and support to both parties, if necessary
TheSpectrumCareers.com is easy to use and FREE to all users. Visit TheSpectrumCareers.com and watch our videos to see how easy it is to join. Questions? Want to join? Contact Autism Speaks Adult Services at AdultServices@autismspeaks.org.